Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. READY TO RELAUNCH
Thursday marks the San Jose Earthquakes 40th anniversary party, which will see the club unveil not only their new 2014 kit but also a brand new logo as well. The club also announced it will be holding open tryouts next month, and while they may not produce any new talent for the Quakes' first team, could they help fill the club's new U-23 PDL side?
2. ALLOCATION TIME
Marco Pappa has officially signed a contract with MLS and will return to the league via the allocation process. His former club, the Chicago Fire, have been linked with the player, as have the Montreal Impact, but neither team sits atop the allocation order. That spot belongs to the Seattle Sounders, who are now on the clock.
3. IN A LA GALAXY II FAR AWAY
Rather than affiliate with another USL PRO team, the LA Galaxy have officially unveiled their very own franchise. Named LA Galaxy II, the side will be led by former first-team assistant coach Curt Onalfo and consist of Galaxy players, academy players and its very own signings, with Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski calling the new club “a massive step, not only for our club, but for every club in this country and player development as a whole.”
4. TAKE A CHANCE
Sporting Kansas City fans can breathe a little easier now, as Chance Myers has agreed to terms on a new contract with the club. While it hasn’t been officially signed yet, the defender is now expected to meet up with his club for preseason preparations in Tucson, Ariz.
5. THE ELITE
After proving an absolutely integral part of the New York Red Bulls backline last season, the club re-signed Jámison Olave to a new deal, with Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh describing the player as “an elite center back in the league.”
6. BRADLEY'S CHALLENGE
“The pressure excites me, to be playing at a club where the expectations are to win and be one of the best clubs in the league.” That’s Michael Bradley talking to The Toronto Sun about the challenges facing him as Toronto FC’s most high-profile Designated Player. He also speaks to some more of the things that influenced his decision and the possibility that he and his father were both nearly Canada-bound.
7. A NOT-SO-SOCCER-SPECIFIC STADIUM
The idea that Toronto FC could soon be sharing their stadium with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts has not been terribly well received so far but, speaking at an event late on Tuesday, MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke moved to assuage fans' concerns by stating, “We’re going to spend $120 million to build a English Premier [League]-style stadium with a roof that covers the seats,” adding that, “You’ll never know there’s a CFL team when you’re there for a soccer match.”
8. REPLACING CAMILO
While Darren Mattocks may indeed by ready to step up for the Vancouver Whitecaps, replacing Camilo’s 22 goals last season will be no easy task. So what other options do the Whitecaps currently have? While not a striker, the club did land Mehdi Ballouchy and some of his teammates from former clubs, reunited in Vancouver, have been explaining what makes him such a catch.
9. STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Orlando City SC recently hired Paul McDonough as vice president of soccer operations. Essentially tasked with helping build a MLS team from the ground up ahead of their 2015 debut, McDonough believes his past experiences as both a coach and an agent will stand him in good stead as he learns how to negotiate the rules and regulations in Orlando's new league.
10. WHERE’S NEXT?
The Beckham-Miami update is coming next week -- we got that -- but what about other potential expansion targets? Well, MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited San Antonio this week and was clearly impressed with what he saw. What about Atlanta? “Atlanta remains a great prospect for MLS expansion,” is what an MLS spokesman told the locals. St. Louis was another city that popped up on MLS’ possible expansion map, and the St. Louligans remain committed to bringing a team to their city.
11. TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
It’s that time of year where almost every club will have trialists with them as they use preseason to gauge whether or not potential players have what it takes. All the same, there are a couple that still stand out, such as Khari Stephenson, most recently of Real Salt Lake, trialing with D.C. United. Meanwhile, the Rapids could be taking advantage of their partnership with Arsenal as the EPL side’s Bolivian youngster Samuel Galindo is currently on trial with Colorado.
12. FAITH IN THE SYSTEM
When Real Salt Lake hired former assistant Jeff Cassar as the club’s new head coach, they were putting faith in a man who had already helped build the club's winning structure. In turn, the RSL organization is now doing everything it can to ensure Cassar’s transition to the top is a successful one. With all the clubs announcing USL affiliations in the last two weeks, Real Salt Lake are still considering their options, but general manager Garth Lagerway dropped some interesting information on where a potential partner may be based.
13. US HEADING FOR NEW JERSEY?
The US national team gets ready to play South Korea on Saturday and DeAndre Yedlin is eyeing the opportunity for his first senior team appearance. The two sides have plenty of history together, and Korea will be coming into the game off the back of a serious beating by Mexico. Saturday's game is just the first in a series of friendlies before the World Cup and reports on Thursday suggest one of those games will be held at Red Bull Arena.
14. TIME TO GO?
Jozy Altidore may have started for Sunderland on Wednesday as they beat Geoff Cameron’s Stoke City but, once again, Altidore failed to score a goal. Is it time we started worrying about the US international? At least one player whose future we can stop being concerned about is Jermaine Jones.
15. WHAT'S IN A SURINAME
Stefano Rijssel is attempting to become the first player to make it into MLS via the league's new Caribbean Combine. Hailing from Suriname, the 21-year-old was taken by the Seattle Sounders in the third round of the SuperDraft and his unusual journey highlights the trials facing soccer players in the country.
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